Q. I’ve heard that teachers could soon be required to administer medication to pupils, because schools’ legal responsibilities to pupils are changing. Is this true?
A. No, this is not the case. The law relating to the duties of governing bodies in respect of pupils with medical conditions will shortly change, however, requirements on teachers will not change at all. From September 2014, under section 100 of the Children and Families Act 2014, governing bodies will have a statutory duty to make arrangements for supporting pupils at their school with medical conditions.
Any teacher may be asked to provide support to pupils with medical conditions, including the administration of medicines, but they cannot be required to do so as administering medicines is not part of a teacher’s professional duties. However, teachers should know what to do and respond accordingly in an emergency or when they become aware that a pupil with a medical condition needs help, and follow the procedure outlined in their school policy.
Any teacher who volunteers to support a pupil with medical needs by administering medication should receive sufficient and suitable training and achieve the necessary level of competency before they take on any responsibility to support children with medical conditions.
The new DfE statutory guidance for schools on supporting pupils with medical conditions, following public consultation earlier in the year, can be found on www.gov.uk. This replaces guidance issued in 2005. The guidance covers a range of issues:
- developing a school policy for supporting pupils with medical conditions
- the role of individual healthcare plans
- the roles and responsibilities of those involved in supporting pupils at school
- staff training and support
- the administration of medicines on school premises
- emergency procedures.